About El Momma

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Okay. I know I've been stangely quiet here lately. But, it's just because life is seriously always C R A Z Y! Can I say that again!? Life is so crazy. And, now that we are in a pretty good rhythm of both parents working outside the home, it's still totally crazy. Seriously. I need an assistant just to manage the kids. 
But, We do it. And, We do it with a smile (usually) 😎 
Now that we are in the full swing of summer I just want to say that I do have more to say. I am writing (music) like crazy and trying to process that and look at what I want to create next. Album? Yes! Full? Probably. Nashville? Most likely.   When? No idea. I have to work through all of the songs I've written over the last couple of years and figure out which ones will ever (or never) be heard. 

Hope summer is treating you well. Vacations are my fave...probably yours too! 
El Momma 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Goodbye, Spring. Hello, Summer!

It's official

Summer is here and Spring 2016 has come to a close. We did so much this Spring, I didn't take the time to write about it. So, I'll quickly recap the crazy:
-Bakri and Maddux played on the same team in their Little League Minor division and won 1st place in the regular season and 2nd in the playoffs. (that's double trophies!) 
-Leeland played coach pitch baseball and Moustapha proudly managed his team.
-Bakri kept up his streak of winning 1st place in all of the school district UIL competition for Music Memory. In fifth grade that means they just play a sample of the song and he has to provide the title, the author and the major work with no word bank and no misspelling. He's a music memory rock star!
-Maddux, Trinity and Leeland all continued in public speaking events in UIL getting better each time. Public Speaking is so subjective, but I think that helps our kids learn that you can't win everything. And, sometimes things aren't fair. 
Trinity continued with dance lessons in ballet and tap. 
-Bakri completed 5th grade, Maddux 3rd, Trinity 1st and Leeland completed kindergarten. 
-Summer is a much anticipated break from the crazy. We have swim team, vacation bible schools, power camp and vacation planned. Can't wait! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

When "stuff" is happening

...I find myself less likely to share. Less likely to want to write. At least, lately.
My dad has been in the hospital or in rehab for various reasons (including congestive heart failure, 2 hip surgeries, septic shock, a cracked femur) since before Thanksgiving. It's been really hard on my mom and my sister, especially. But, also hard on my brother and his family and my family. We are all trying to help my mom and dad as much as possible and it turns out that "the system" stinks and just when we think we have it figured out, we are battling again. And, I'm exhausted. Like, mother of four, who works full time exhausted. Plus more. Remember when I did the whole30 in February? That was a pretty great month for me after day 11. But, what occurred around mid March (15 days post whole30) has us (my doctor(s) included) perplexed and worried about the answer. Around that time my hands (fingers, mostly) began to swell and I had to remove my rings. I've noticed since then that my feet were also swollen. I've now experienced this inflammation for over six weeks. It's (hopefully) not that big of a deal. But, I can't shake the feeling (and the reality) that it is something. This is not normal and I'm frustrated, tired and scared.
So, I share all this to say that I am feeling weak right now. Afraid to ask for help. But, I need it. I need your prayers. My family needs your prayers. Can I ask you to pray for me over the next week as I am taking steroids in the hopes that my Rheumatologist can find the answer? I pray for answers and I pray for healing. 
I appreciate you. As a mom of four elementary school kids in May, there's just no time to slow down and certainly no time for me to be sick...or down. 
Thanks and I promise to update when we find the answer!

Monday, February 29, 2016

The baby of the family...finally some peace

He's adorable, y'all. Like, the cutest, wanna squeeze him and hug him and delight in him all the time ADORABLE. He is five years old and still cuddles with his momma. Which is the absolute best.
He's also a handful! He's been getting into everything since he was a baby. And taking care of himself because he didn't want to be forgotten. Being the youngest of four, he loves being babied and he loves being independent and in charge.  He's fun. And stubborn. When I take him out and try to get him to sit quietly, it hardly ever works. His sister's dance class? Nope. His sister's gymnastics class? Nope. He does pay attention in his own activities. For example; baseball.  
But, if we just need to sit still and wait, it's impossible. Did you see what I wrote about throwing out my back 3 weeks ago? That was this sweet boy. 
But, today there was peace. He's reading and he's quiet and he's in love...with a book. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Whole 30 Day-El-Day

Day one: What am I doing? I need to print this shopping list
Day two: cooked 2 great Whole30 dinners so far. Can I keep this up for 28 more days?
Day three: coffee and clarified butter. yum. oops, I forgot to eat breakfast
Day four: I think I'm allergic to pistachios! Too bad I've been snacking on them pretty much non stop for the last three days. Good thing it's only bumps and skin itching and not anaphylactic! 😳
Day five: my back hurts so bad today. I can barely stand up. Should I blame this on the whole30 and quit now while I can still walk?
Day six: okay. I remembered what caused my back injury. It was a child and not the whole30. Now, let's do this Super Bowl Sunday whole30 style!
Day seven: success! I made chicken and mushrooms over mashed cauliflower, fresh guacamole and bacon wrapped date stuffed jalapeños yesterday! Can't wait for today's leftovers 
Day eight: Houstonian coffee blended with clarified unsalted butter. yum.
Day nine: I miss cheese. 
Day ten: I can't believe I'm 1/3 of the way through. More than cheese, I miss thoughtless snacking. Okay, so maybe this is a really good thing. I'm starting to change the way I think. Hmmm 
Day eleven: I'm still not feeling great. I was thinking by this time, I would be over the cravings and withdrawals. Not so much. But, I won't give up. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.
Day twelve: This is better. Maybe I am over the hump. PS. took my eldest child to Whataburger on our way to middle school auditions. I ordered a side of avocado for 75 cents. :-) 
Day thirteen: oh, Valentine's Day. How I love thee. I love thee so much that I am making whole30 compliant steak, asparagus, thick cut roasted potatoes and Brussel sprouts for dinner. I'm also freezing one of every gluten free homemade dessert my sister in law brings over 
Day fourteen: I may give up coffee. Altogether. Forever. That's it. Because, today it really tasted like garbage and if it tastes bad, what's the point, right?
Day fifteen: self discipline. I've got this.  Half way there, momma! 
Day sixteen: Larabar bars. I've tried one Whole30 Compliant Larabar bar: Cashew Cookie. It was delish. Here's a list of Whole30 Compliant Larabar Bars from the Whole30 blog:

Day seventeen: one of my bffs shared with me her secrets for a successful whole30. One of them: a spanx tank top. I ordered one (or two) right away and boy am I skinny now!? Ha! But, things are held together a little better. So, I'm happy. 💗
Day eighteen: I worked out today AND I'm about to take my post-workout self on a mini-vacation (aka grocery shopping by myself!) woohoo! Here's my post workout face...
Day nineteen: oh my back! This pain feels like day five. My back has been feeling better and worse and better and worse. I think yesterday's spinning workout sent me over the edge. I can't sit today and standing isn't much better. In other news, I am getting a little bored of eggs (con no queso.) Today, I made a delicious "kitchen sink egg scramble" for me and the hubs. (The Els had their usual scrambled eggs with cheese) It was our best breakfast of the #whole30. Coconut oil, chopped onions and peppers. Cooked. Then, adding chopped kale, then eggs and cooked bacon and topped with avocado chunks. Yum!
Day twenty: I thought last night was going to be a bit of a challenge. We had a school fundraiser at a bar/restaurant with a preordered menu with absolutely nothing I could eat. And, no sparking water at the bar. But, I pushed through by ordering soda water with lime all night. And, all I can say is that I wasn't tempted to eat anything or drink anything (alcohol or soda with sugar etc) and boy do I feel great today! 
So great that here is what we had for lunch after church. 
Whole30 Oven roasted Brussels sprouts and squash 
Whole30 Mexican tuna boats
Double Yum!
Day twenty-one: Woohoo! I feel extra excited today. I guess it's that another weekend has gone by and I'm still moving forward. We had dinner out with family last night and I've never been a super complicated "orderer." Not last night. I was very complicated and high maintenance- for me. :-) I wasn't even tempted to eat the steak nachos dripping in cheese that were placed right in front of me. We were at a Mexican restaurant (Tex-Mex) that we go to pretty regularly. I ordered a filet mignon with salt and pepper as the seasoning. And shrimp cooked in spices (no butter- no soy) I passed on the queso, the chips and salsa. Salsa was probably fresh and Whole30 compliant, but I wasn't going to drink it. (so, no salsa) I also drank sparking water. I requested my absolute favorite sparkling water- Topo Chico (and although they had a huge Topo Chico sign hanging on the wall behind me), but they didn't have any. Oh well. Today's breakfast was also fun. I made a egg and tomato frittata with kale (hubs is allergic to spinach). I actually used the broiler for breakfast. First time for that! I think the lesson that I'm learning is that meals are so much easier when I take the time to plan a menu ahead. There is some extra work on the front end, but boy is the result rewarding! Cheers! 
Day twenty-two: awake just before 5am with severe back pain. So much so, that I (person who can fall asleep the second her head hits the pillow-a gift I inherited from my momma) couldn't sleep anymore. I tried and tried and finally gave up at 545. I normally get up at 6am each day. So, today, I promise to continue to rest my back and perhaps, make an appointment with a chiropractor! Ouch! 
Day twenty-three: I like black coffee. Hard to imagine. I was a cream and sugar kind of girl. Then, a "Bullet proof coffee with sugar sprinkled on top" kind of lady. And now I'm a "I'll take my coffee black" woman with a more sophisticated palate. I can actually taste the beans, people. The coffee beans. It's true. 
And, I still miss cheese. Not in a "I'm craving cheese. I can't live without cheese" kind of way. More of a "hmmm, this would be good with a little cheese on top" kind of way. 
Day twenty-four: bragging momma moment. The Els ate this:
Not too surprising since it's chicken. But, it is cooked a little differently than how they are used to. 
And...drum roll....they ate this:
And, they liked it. Cabbage! I'm a happy momma today. Now, where's my coffee? 
Day twenty-five: I was tempted by a cookie today. The cookie did not win. That is all.
Day twenty-six: what a beautiful weekend! Still feeling good. Can't believe I only have four days to go! 
Day twenty-seven: Sunday Funday! Banana and coffee for breakfast. Taco truck for lunch (with no tortillas). Oranges and more coffee for snack. Cold Topo Chico in the afternoon sun. It's a great day to be alive.
Day twenty-eight: it's leap day and day 28 of my whole30! Honestly, I'm ready for some results and a break from being so strict. Gosh, I really am such a nerdy rule follower. 😉
Day twenty-nine: I've seen the light. At least a little light. Food. Health. Choices. Planning. Cooking. Trying. Asking. This has been a positive journey for me. I've changed. I'll wait to share more once I've completed the Whole30 tomorrow, but  really looking forward to being more thoughtful about food and my health from now on. 
Day thirty: I can't believe it! 30 days. Almost no exercise. (unfortunately, since I threw out my back!) But, just a change in what I cook and eat and I lost 8 pounds. More changed than just that. I now have a different way of thinking and a new way of planning meals. I'm excited about implementing these changes and lessons as I add some of my favorite ingredients back into my life. Hummus anyone?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day - Old School Style

Four kids and only one room mom.
Room mom for one kid.
One classroom.
That's it.
And, that feels good.
It feels like enough.
I trust my room mom friends who take such good care of my other kids in their classrooms and I do my best with the one classroom I get to be mom in.
Valentines is one of my favorite "extra" holidays.
I love the colors.
Red. Pink.
I love the feelings of nostalgia that Valentine's day brings.
When I was a kid, my mom used to make the biggest heart shaped valentine sugar cookies with pink icing.
She made them for my classroom.
She made them for kids in my grade who were no longer in my classroom.
She was known for these cookies.
She still makes them.
And, they are so good.
Because, they are good.  And, because she makes them with lots and lots of love.
I also remember really cute bags and boxes to put our class valentines in.
So, when we found out that we were going to have a classroom party for Valentine's day...I knew I wanted the kids in Trinity's first grade class to make Valentine Bags as their party craft.
The kids (pretty much) did everything for themselves.
They cut out hearts, glued on eyes, folded the accordion arms and legs. And, kept really busy and focused making their very own valentine bags.
And, I think, us parents, had a good time too.
And kind of old school.
Just my style.
Happy Valentine's Day, friends!
El Momma 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Oh the Momma Drama

I wrote this in December, just before Christmas. I'm sharing it now as the drama (always) continues. 
xoxo, El Momma

It's been an interesting few weeks (months) around the El House. One up followed by a down followed by an up and on and on. You get the picture.
The biggest weight that we have been carrying is my dad's health. He's been in and out of the hospital for the last few months. It's been hard. Thankfully, he seems to have turned a corner, he's in a rehab facility and we are hopeful he will be strong enough to go home soon.

So, that brings me to my "Momma Drama" and breakdown of the day.

Let's set the scene.

First, our school district sends out a district wide phone message notifying all the parents of a "threat of violence" (that appears to be uncredible) last night. Our school responds swiftly with closing the campus to all visitors. At this point, I feel sad that we've come to this, but I am okay.
We make it to school fine and all of our children are in the building safely. We decide to have breakfast nearby, just in case we are needed quickly. All is calm and well. My husband goes to work and I begin working from home. I decide I am going to exercise today "no matter what" and I pick out a power yoga class that I will absolutely attend. (I promise myself again!) I head to the back of my vehicle to put something in it and run a quick errand on my way to yoga. I see my kindergartner's lunch box in the back and start driving to the school, since it's already his lunchtime by then. (they have lunch super early in the day) I am about to turn on the road to our school when my phone rings and it is the school calling. I hear an automated recording which identifies itself as the "attendance office" and notifies me that "your student, Trinity...El...is absent today...." My heart sinks. "Don't panic," I tell myself. I end the call and find the school on my phone and call the front office. I calmly identify myself and tell them what happened. They ask me to hold as I pull up to the school. She returns to the phone to apologize and inform me that it was just an error. "Trinity is here." The thoughts that ran through my head (in what was only a few seconds) were terrifying. All I wanted was to hold my sweet girl. To tell her I love her. To cherish her. I walked into the school and left Leeland's lunch with a note. I got a quick hug from one of my babies' teachers and I left to run the errand I still had to run, on my way to yoga.

So, I get to the monogram shop (the errand). I'm picking up our Christmas pajamas. They were being monogrammed and I had all of them ready, except for Moustapha's (dad). I tried with him. I even ordered a pair of "men's pajamas" from zulily to match the kids. And, the men's pajamas I ordered were actually a child size medium. UGH! So, I finally resolve to just have a red tshirt monogrammed to match our pajamas. I had dropped off all of the other pajamas the week prior and I was given a firm timeline to return with Moustapha's pjs or no monogram by Christmas. This was, of course, that final day. The sign on the door read "no more monogram orders before Christmas. All orders from this point forward will be ready after Christmas." I totally ignored that and went in, picked up my 5 items and laid out Moustapha's shirt and told the sweet lady behind the counter what I needed. She, very sweetly told me that it would be ready after Christmas. I replied with the information she gave me last week. She said she was sorry, but there was nothing she could do. That's when I began to cry.

All the "stuff" that had been brewing and bubbling the last few weeks, came pouring out...all over the monogram lady. She stood there and listened to me...then she began to share her story and her "stuff" that had been brewing and bubbling began to come out. We were a sight. And, in the middle of it all, without talking about it, she filled out a new order form for me and promised me a monogrammed pajama top for my hubby before Christmas.

This is the stuff, people. This is real life. It's sometimes messy and confusing and sad. And, sometimes it's really really great.  PS. Yes, I made it to yoga. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Oh to think and live like a child...

This moment.
 It only comes once.
 So, run, play, laugh, and live like this moment will never come again and you never ever want to forget this moment! #theEls #fieldtrip #elmomma #thismoment 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Best Day

Once upon a time, (a dozen years ago) I had a light in my eye anticipating what I believed would be one of the best days of my life. I share this, because it was. 

And, it's not because what has followed has been a fairytale. Don't get me wrong. I love my life with my sweet husband. I am so very grateful for so many blessings. I'm just not going to be fake and pretend it's without its challenges and obstacles. It's a real life with real issues AND real love. A decision to love each other always. We're in it for the long haul: 12 years as of today. 

I read a blogpost last year that talked about how the wedding day just wasn't that big of a deal in the scheme of life. "Why have the big wedding?" she asked.  Why have so many people there, the dresses, the tuxes, etc.? All the work that goes into the big day. Why?
I'll tell you why it was so meaningful to me. 
Never before and never since have I ever been in a place, a moment in time, a day with so many people who I love and care about all together. It never happens. Your whole life. There will be funerals and other weddings. There will be family reunions and celebrations. But, never anything like my very own wedding day. 
What is really special about this and what I want you to know is: if you were there, we KNOW you were there and LOVE that you were there. Your presence was special to us. If you weren't there, you were missed. 
I remember each of your faces. I remember the brief moment we got to hug and say hello around the ballroom. I remember laughing so much my cheeks hurt. I couldn't stop smiling. I have friends that I lost touch with for a while after high school. I wish that you were there. We have friends and family that couldn't travel that far. We missed you. We have a couple of friends who got sick and couldn't make it. We still think of you each year at this time and still wish you were there. We only had one living grandparent at the time we were married. My maternal grandmother, Nannie. We cherished her presence that day. And still do. She lived another year and a half after that. Every single person who was there (or should have been there) is cherished. We thank God for you. And we are thankful for everything you meant to us and mean to us now. 
I will cherish the memories I have from this day F O R E V E R. I remember being told to try to take everything in. To take it slow. 
I did. The wedding reception was one of the more emotional experiences of my life. With so many loved ones in one place and my new husband by my side!
It's hard for me to find a photograph from the night where I don't look absolutely delighted. Beaming from ear to ear. (I could stand to close my mouth a little when I laugh, but I digress) I was just so happy. So very very happy. 
I will never forget that day. The day I married my sweetheart. Before there were "the Els," we had you. Our support. Our family. Our friends. We love you! 

Ps Maybe we'll have another big party one day and we can include all of you who were a part of our special day as well as all of our special friends and family we've come to know (and love) in the last dozen years.

Much love,
El Momma